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No Fences Here

Hot Topics - Mike EastmanJourney back in time when grizzly bears, wolves, elk, bighorns and mule deer lived in a wild and natural setting before the on slot of settlers moved in. Back when old trappers were still alive, like ones that trapped with Jim Bridger and Joe Meeks. A time when an adventurous soul could stake out a chuck of western grassland, and country needed tamed with wild wilderness right out your cabin door. A book titled Cow Range and Hunting Trails by Malcolm S. Mackay takes you back to this special time. Mackay was an easterner who migrated out west in the 1890’s to find advantage. In the process he became a cowboy and outdoorsman. The book published by Stoneydale Press is a reprint of his journals written solely for his family members in 1925.

The many short stories within this book give the reader a rare look at living and hunting in the wilderness beneath the Beartooth Mountains in Wyoming and Montana. The book is a completion of short stories, including ones where Mackay hunts bighorn sheep, elk, and grizzlies. One hunting story, a great seven-point bull elk is taken in the Beartooth’s. He even heads for Alaska in the early 20’s to hunt the White Sheep, taking three trophy rams. Mackay rubs shoulders with westerner frontiersmen like Uncle Billy Hamilton, government scouts and trappers with names like “Wild Bill” Meyer and many others! Back when the country was still wild and you were on your own. While reading all those wonderful old time hunting stories I just couldn’t put the book down. It’s a great read that I highly recommend!
Stoneydale Press, 523 Main Street, Stevensville, Montana 59870 Phone 406-777-2725

No Fences Here: This seems to be a topic that has some people confused. Some guy’s who have watched the TV show have commented on seeing barbwire fences in the background. No Fences Here means that we at Eastmans’ do not hunt behind high fences, period. I guess some people are so naive about the west that they think a deer, elk, or antelope can’t move around by simply jumping a stock or barbwire fence. Out west there are fences everywhere, even in some wilderness areas. When I was cowboying as a young man we would build drift fences along the forest service trails in the wilderness. The purpose was to keep summering cattle from moving down the mountain. So if you see a fence in our TV show or in one of our DVD’s, rest assured that the wildlife can move about freely and the hunt is fair chase. The fences out here are to restrain domestic cattle and sheep.

What do the game and fish departments do with the money: I had only one response that thought Governor’s Tags and similar raffle tags were a good idea.

Shane said:
Mike, in response to your column posted online, I thought I would give you my thoughts on the sale of tags to the highest bidder.

I guess maybe I am one of the few who believes that there can be a place for this practice. I think it is important that all of the factors are taken into consideration, though. I believe that the tags should be limited to areas that can sustain the hunt. I don’t even have a problem with the tag being used in states during the rut when there is not a normal season during the rut. If we think about the actual impact 1 or 2 tags has on the game population, I think it can be worth the extra money generated for our game departments.

The fear I have is that some of the game departments in the west are obviously flawed. I am wondering where this money goes???????????????

I was lucky enough to draw a raffle tag for mule deer in southwest Oregon last year. I ended up taking a deer on the same ranch that the auction winner had the year before and was coming back to the same year. I was sickened to learn that the auction hunter did not even want to touch the deer after he had shot it. I was told he posed with someone else holding the animal. He then tried to leave the meat with the landowner (who made him take it), because he only wanted the antlers. But, unlike others that I talk to, I cannot place all those wealthy enough to purchase these tags in the same light as this guy who seems not to care about the animals. From his hiring of people to scout for him, buying the tag, and paying the trespass fee, it seems like he probably spent about 70k to 80k on a mule deer tag for one of the worst mule deer states we have right now!

So, yes, I believe there are dangers with using this method. But I also believe that the money generated could do far more good for the sport than damage. How is the money handled? To me, that has to be the judge for the future of the auction practice.



He has a good point, what does happen to the money? Oh I know, it is spent on habitat etc. But I wonder if they exactly know for what. The idea of only offering one or two tags probably isn’t bad, but some states are moving toward using 10 or 15 percent of the tags. That doesn’t seem right. Let me know what your thoughts on it.

30 feet of snow in the High Country: Guy recently got back from the western part of Wyoming and boy do they have some snow. Unbelievably, 30 feet! That’s right, 30 feet on the level in the high mountain ranges. He said in the valley you could see bare ridges where elk and mule deer winter, so I think most areas are going to produce plenty of grass this summer. Now there is some high county that deer and elk try to winter in and in those areas it doesn’t look good for them. But last week the Wyoming Game and Fish came out saying the winter overall looks great for big game. Plenty of snow pack on the mountains with minimal snow down in the valley’s and winter ranges. This makes for a good winter and maybe plenty of horn and antler growth this summer.

Hunting Plan’s: This year I will be scouting and hunting mule deer in the high country. I had my knees worked on and will give it a shot. It’s been a long time coming. The equipment for backpacking has changed and I need to gather up new gear. Today I’m looking at sleeping bags that are less than 2 pounds and one-man tents that weigh less then 2 pounds. My friend David Long’s pack alone weighs less then 3 pounds. My old framed pack I think weighed at least 5 pounds by itself. With all this modern lightweight climbing equipment he can go for a week with only 45 pounds on his back.

Here at Eastmans’ we are publishing his new book in July and it has some great up-to-date information for mule deer hunter. I will keep you posted on this development. Every mule deer hunter needs to get this great informative book.

Like most of you we are waiting to see what tags we draw. So good luck and remember, fair chase is the only way to hunt and take trophy big game.

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  1. Great Reading, Keep up the good work. Been hunting since my dad thought I was old enough to carry a gun. Trophy hunted all over the western U.S., Idaho, the lower Tetons on my aunt’s ranch, New Mexico, the Kaibab, Arizona strip, paunsagaunt ,all over Utah. Taken a lot of beautiful mounts. Now I am 75 years old and don’t get out much. I talked with you Mike on the phone about a New Mexico hunt back when you first started your magazine. I want to tell you and your sons, you have done a tremendous job, Your information has been dead on, one any hunter can count on and not be supported by other interest, if you know what I mean. The closest I get to the high country and draw hunts is your great reading material. For that I say Thank You and wish continued success. Respectfully Roy Wehnes

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